The one thing I would change about our trip to Egypt? I’d have spent at least one more day in Luxor! Our hotel was fantastic, our guide was basically a celebrity (we loved Dina!), and this is the real deal: The tombs and temples here are the most impressive in Egypt. Here’s how to spend two days in Luxor!
Start your first day on the west bank of the Nile. You can take a boat across from the east bank, or hire a driver to take you across by bridge. Either way, you’ll need a driver on the west side to get to the first stop on they list.
Explore the Valley of Kings
This is the reason people travel to Luxor: To see the tombs of so many of Egypt’s famed kings and pharaohs. While many tombs (well, basically all but one) were raided for their treasures centuries and even millennia ago, their vibrant, original colors remain. Be ready for some heat, some walking, and a lot of climbing on stairs and ramps while you’re here! Your ticket will get you into three “regular” tombs, but several others require a separate ticket. (And they’re worth it.)
The most famous tomb, and one that requires a special ticket, is that of King Tutankhamen, or King Tut. It’s also the smallest, but he got the last laugh, because his treasure was still intact when it was discovered in 1922. His is also the only mummy that’s still here instead of at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Cairo, since it was already damaged when Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon found him and tried to open his sarcophagus.
But King Tut’s is far from the only tomb you’ll want to see! Be sure to pop into the tombs of Seti I, Ramses IX, and Queen Hatshepsut–she is the only woman buried in the Valley of the Kings!
All the details: Your Ultimate Guide to the Valley of the Kings in Luxor
Visit the Valley of the Queens
Nearby you’ll find the Valley of the Queens, though there is less to see here. Most of the 92 tombs have not survived, but one site is certainly worth your while to visit. It’s the most expensive ticket in all of Egypt: Queen Nefertari’s tomb. It has so much original color, and it is so well preserved, that a ticket to go into the tomb formerly cost $1,000 USD.
Thankfully, a few years ago that changed; now it’s only around $50 USD. It’s still the most expensive ticket in the country, but at least it’s more affordable for the average tourist. Here’s a sneak peek at the tomb of Ramses II’s favorite wife.
Stay at Djorff Palace
Even in January, it was exhausting to walk around the Valleys of the Kings and Queens for the afternoon. We were so glad we could stay at the beautiful and unique Djorff Palace, which is a boutique hotel overlooking the Nile. With fewer than two dozen rooms, and with each one uniquely decorated, you truly get a sense of luxury here. This is the real reason I wanted another day in Luxor: I wanted another night and another sunrise at this hotel!
It’s nice to visit the sites on the west side of the Nile one day, and the sites on the east side another day. Doing them all the same day would have been too rushed, and it’s logistically unwise to go back and forth because there are no car ferries across the Nile, and the road that crosses the river takes 45 minutes, one-way!
Float Across the Nile
This was the nicest way to start our day! Because we stayed at Djorff Palace, we were able to use their ferry to cross the Nile and meet up with our car and driver, who were already waiting for us on the other side. (Thanks to Egypt Elite for sorting out the logistics to make it more fun for us!)
Walk Through Luxor Temple
Luxor Temple has been an ancient Egyptian temple, a Christian church, and a Muslim mosque! And the many statues of Ramses saw and heard it all. Every statue of him the temple is made of granite from Aswan, and interestingly, his ears are always shown. This symbolizes that he listened to his people all over Egypt. Built in 1,400 B.C., it’s made of sandstone from the Gebel el-Silsila quarry. You may have see it on your Nile cruise!
Read on: What to Know Before You Visit Egypt
Marvel at Karnak Temple
Karnak is the second-largest religious complex in the world, second only to the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Cambodia. There are 25 temples within the Karnak Complex, but the most Instagrammed site inside is the Hypostyle Hall, complete with 134 of the most massive pillars you’ve ever seen. The most baffling fact about Karnak, however, is that it took 2,000 years to complete!
Also helpful: What to Know Before You Visit Luxor
Want more? Check out my dedicated Egypt Page!
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